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Änglagård - Hybris CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.38 | 1665 ratings

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5 stars As some old progheads, I usually pay more attention to classic bands from the 70's than to the later ones, so I really never cared too much about ÄNGLAGÅRD until this Thursday when another reviewer of this page invited me to a musical clinic dedicated to this magnificent band, and my perspective changed in 180 degrees, really I haven't been so impressed with any other group since I heard Gabriel Genesis for the first time.

ÄNGLAGÅRD means Garden of Angels, and never a name of a band has been so perfectly chosen, their music is almost celestial, even when they belong to the 90's the members avoid the use of instruments that weren't used in the 70's by their predecessors. Plethoric of magnificent Keyboards and Mellotrons, is hard not to place ÄNGLAGARD CD's in the same section of the old dinosaurs as Yes, Genesis and King Crimson.

"Hybris" is everything that progressive genre represents, is simply brilliant and I will take the risk to affirm is absolutely original, even if some progheads believe they are too influenced by early bands.

It's clear that "Hybris" has strong influence from Yes, Genesis but specially from King Crimson and even from Focus, but ÄNGLAGÅRD took this influence and worked with it in their own unique way, avoiding to do simpler works as the Neo Prog Bands or cloning some great tracks. You can notice the influence of the mentioned bands but is almost impossible to affirm they are copying a determined song, they did their own original stuff, inspired in classic prog' bands.

The first track Jördrok (Earthsmoke) starts with an unbelievably beautiful piano section, somehow dark and melancholic as the winter season in Sweden but also haunting and scary, almost as announcing the Crimsonian explosion that will follow, precise flute touches, lots of Mellotron and baroque Organ sections by the excellent Thomas Johnson (Who was born long after the invention of the Mellotron but plays it with great ability) complete this incredible opener hard to describe in modest words, 11:10 minutes of pure and pristine progressive rock.

"Vandringar I Vilsenhet" (Wanderings in Confusion) is another almost 12 minutes epic that starts with a soft flute followed by a dark organ reminiscent of Bach, again hard passages softened by the sweet flute of Anna Holmgren. This is the first song with lyrics in Swedish, which of course are impossible for me to understand, but who cares about lyrics and words when music talks so loud and clear, Tord Lindman's voice is delicate and acute but absolutely unique and appropriate for the music. Another perfect track.

"Ifrån Klarhet Till Klarhet" (From Strength to Strength) starts with a circus like music the first and only section I really don't like, but so short that really doesn't matters at all, again followed by a shocking crimsonian section and Tord Lindman's voice, this time lower and less feminine than in "Vandringar I Vilsenhet". For the first time I can listen a passage clearly inspired in early Genesis with a flute that sounds almost as in Musical Box, great versatility of Anna Anna Holmgren who has a style closer to This Van Leer than to Peter Gabriel, but easily adapts her style according to the needs of the song also must mention Johan Högberg who does a terrific job with his bass.

"Kung Bore" (King Winter) is the closer of the album, starts with an a acoustic guitar section followed by keyboards and the whole band using a derivative style that I can hardly identify with any main ÄNGLAGÅRD influence, has a bit of Crimson, Focus, Yes and Gabriel Genesis but nothing specific of anyone in particular, and that IMHO is what influence should be, only inspiration but not a simple and cheap copy. In this track Tord Lindman proves he's a versatile vocalist using different ranges, the whole band is again perfect and I won't try to describe all this track because it's an impossible task, I can only say is that it's less dark but more nostalgic than all the previous and almost perfect.

I can't end this review without mentioning Mattias Olsson who plays drums with the skill of Bill Bruford but wasn't even born when Yes Album and Larks Tongues in Aspic where released, a real talent.

If there is an album that deserves 5 stars without any doubt is Hybris, the first chapter of the short but brilliant saga of ÄNGLAGÅRD.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 5/5 |


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